What’s In The Kitchen? Our Current Bike Touring Cook Kit

A whittled down kitchen that is perfect for third world cooking and the ideal size and weight for a minimal setup…

When vagabonding on two wheels, especially in the third world, it is interesting to uncover what splendid budget dishes can be prepared with the variety odd sundries available on the road. The typical requirements are that the meal is cheap, easy to carry and that one may find at least some of the bulkier ingredients while riding through a small village towards the end of the day. In Central America it was always some derivative of pasta with pouch sauce, a veg or two, and possibly some eggs thrown in for protein. In each country in southern Africa it has varied slightly, but is usually a rice curry dish or a tomato pasta dish. There are ripe tomatoes everywhere this time of year, so they are always a main ingredient. All of the dishes we prepare have one thing in common; they are all cooked with one pot (with a secondary vessel used for holding the cooked starch until the other portion is prepared). Of course there are other things that we prepare… desserts, salads, and a myriad of stews. But, again, 1 pot, 1 burner.

Our kit is simple, light and designed to be easy to carry in a pannierless setup. We had previously carried a Whisperlite and full mess kit with plates, forks, spoons, bowls, etc. Although this was slightly better suited for preparing more complex creations, it was a little too much. As I am finally pulling together a full pack list, I thought I’d share what’s in our kitchen:

The Fire

Trangia spirit burner
Vargo Titanium wood stove (used as pot stand and wind blocker for the Trangia)

Bike Touring Kitchen - Vargo Titanium Hexagon
The Vargo hexagon stove works perfectly as a combination pot stand and windscreen for a spirit burner stove such as the Trangia. My main rationale in purchasing the Vargo was to be able to use it with wood in a pinch. However, we haven’t ran out of fuel so far in Africa, so I haven’t had a chance to test it’s wood burning capabilities. Methylated spirits fuel is everywhere here.
GSI Pinnacle Backpacker - Bike Touring Kitchen
The pot, bag and nested bowls from the Pinnacle Backpacker by GSI Outdoors. These fit perfectly in a Sea To Summit 5L dry bag, which also fits perfectly on an oversized fork mount cage such as the Salsa Anything Cage.

Pots and Dishes

2L pot from GSI Pinnacle Backpacker kit
2 nested bowls from GSI Pinnacle Backpacker kit
Sealed bag from GSI Pinnacle Backpacker kit
Snow Peak Titanium Spork (Gin carries the second)
Snow Peak Titanium Mug (Gin carries the second)
Universal aluminum pot handle (from REI)
Random small stainless steel plate purchased just recently (not shown)

Bike Touring Kitchen - Domke
My whole kitchen, except the pots, bowls and plate fit neatly into this Domke waxed canvas accessory bag which slides nicely into my frame bag. I always find it important to have things in softer bags to avoid abrading.

Carrying and Extras

Domke waxed-canvas accessory bag
Shard of chamois to wrap the Trangia
MSR coffee drip filter
MSR salt/pepper 2 sided container
Wash rag
Detergent in a plastic bag
Pocket knife (for cutting, lion defense or whatever)

Bike Touring Kitchen - Titanium Spork
My pride and joy… I thought I lost it a few weeks back and was temporarily frantic.
Bike Touring Kitchen - Snow Peak Titanium Mug
Another piece to never leave home without. These things are fairly invincible and versatile as well.
Bike Touring Kitchen - Sea to Summit
The toughest dry bag out there. This one acts as a food bag and holds the pots and nested bowls from the Pinnacle Backpacker.
Bike Touring Kitchen
Another one-pot wonder. All over Southern Africa they cook primarily with charcoal; it’s fairly common to find a small charcoal cooker and a large cast iron pot. Here we are starting a stew that ended up feeding us and some of the staff at a backpacker in Senga, Bay Malawi.

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